Hartford, CT

I made it out front to spy on James and Bo as they tweaked the sound and lighting to the usual perfection!! Nice work boys…

The arena was located just a few hours out of New York but still drew a huge crowd.  It will definitely go down as one of the more vocal audiences on the tour.  Thousands were already up and standing by the end of ‘Can’t find my way home’, a mere three songs into the set!! 

Behind the scenes, Tom continued working on Jose’s new guitar which was really started to sound fantastic in sound check.  It will surely be getting a proper play at one of the remaining gigs over the next few weeks!

Following the final notes of the set and the rapid pack down of all our equipment, the Winwood tour rolled south towards Philadelphia!

Holmdel, NJ

This was one hell of a humid one to get through after the perfect few days we experienced across the Hudson from Manhattan…

Pete our driver picked us up and we made the short journey to the PNC Bank Arena in Holmdel, NJ.  There was some strong coffee to start everyone off before another highly enjoyable outdoor show.  The arena gigs are spectacular in their own right but taking a similar number of people and putting them out in the warm New Jersey air for a rock concert, never fails to whip up an extraordinary atmosphere.

The band carried on their strong form from MSG!  I managed to catch up with Jose, Paul and Cafe while they warmed up for the gig. Jose tried out his brand new Stratocaster which was sounding pretty damn good!!

We headed back to Weehawken and were greeted by the moving sight of the World Trade Center 9/11 light tributes over in New York.  A moving day to be in this overwhelming city!

New York, Madison Square Garden

We returned once again to this legendary venue for another huge concert!  It was good to be back at ‘The Garden’ as it is affectionately known…

MSG is smack bang in the middle of Manhattan which added an extra intensity as the thousands of fans poured in off Madison Avenue.  

The corridors were lined with the framed photographs of legends past and present who have graced the hallowed stage. In amongst them is a photo of Steve from 2008 when he performed alongside Eric Clapton.  

There is always a slightly tense atmosphere at big gigs in New York.  It is hard to explain just why that is, but the city creates a nervous energy which finds is way all around the backstage area leading up to the set….

Steve and the band took to the stage and performed brilliantly in front of a capacity crowd!  All nerves evaporated and the show was a blinder!  We all headed out into the warm Manhattan evening feeling proud of another successful evening on the Petty/Winwood tour. 

Darien Lakes, NY

We returned again to this outdoor venue close to the Canadian border!  It was the first stop on our tour with The Allman Brothers last year.  The crew made it over to the nearby theme park for a few free rides after set-up and sound check had been taken care of.

The show was a blast as the crowd were revved up perfectly for The Heartbreakers!  We had the incense burning to set the mood while Steve and the guys played one of there strongest set to date.  Ron Blair and Steve Ferrone watched on from side-stage and were spotted singing along on a few occasions… great stuff!

There was plenty of wine and good beer after the concert as we all mellowed down before the journey to Weehawken, NJ.

Lockn Music Festival, Virginia
The southern rock band ‘Widespread Panic’ had invited Steve to collaborate with them at this well-regarded festival, located deep in the heart of the Virginia countryside.  
The photo above was from their rehersal together before the show.  They hammered out versions of several Traffic songs such as ‘Low Spark’ and ‘Dear Mr Fantasy’.  There were also interesting re-workings of ‘Can’t find my way home’ and a few Spencer Davis Group hits.  It never ceases to amaze me how much respect Steve has from fellow artists! It is very unique for someone’s music to span accross so many genres and to influence other similarly influential musicians.
The Festival bill included some fantastic acts and many familiar faces.  Steve caught up with some of the folks from Tedeschi Trucks Band and The Allman Brothers.  There were a few brief moments to take in sets by Wilco and also to talk music with Neal Casel (Guitarist for Ryan Adams and The Cardinals).
Around half an hour before set time there was a high level warning of thunder and lightning storms! This resulted in a temporary evacuation of the main stage area (some 15,000 punters!!).  Luckily the weather passed and the show could go on!!

Lockn Music Festival, Virginia

The southern rock band ‘Widespread Panic’ had invited Steve to collaborate with them at this well-regarded festival, located deep in the heart of the Virginia countryside.  

The photo above was from their rehersal together before the show.  They hammered out versions of several Traffic songs such as ‘Low Spark’ and ‘Dear Mr Fantasy’.  There were also interesting re-workings of ‘Can’t find my way home’ and a few Spencer Davis Group hits.  It never ceases to amaze me how much respect Steve has from fellow artists! It is very unique for someone’s music to span accross so many genres and to influence other similarly influential musicians.

The Festival bill included some fantastic acts and many familiar faces.  Steve caught up with some of the folks from Tedeschi Trucks Band and The Allman Brothers.  There were a few brief moments to take in sets by Wilco and also to talk music with Neal Casel (Guitarist for Ryan Adams and The Cardinals).

Around half an hour before set time there was a high level warning of thunder and lightning storms! This resulted in a temporary evacuation of the main stage area (some 15,000 punters!!).  Luckily the weather passed and the show could go on!!

Washington DC

We had a rare treat of 4 days with no gigs to spend in the capital!  Temperatures were ridiculously high and the humidity was hard to handle but all of us managed to take in plenty of the sites, eat some wonderful food and once again catch up with a couple of old friends.  Cris Jacobs popped into town for some dinner and beers with us! 

Steve spent the four days relaxing in Nashville, Bo stayed up in Maine while the rest of us got some culture in Washington! Time to yourself is an alien term on tour so these few days were precious as we prepared for the second half of the Petty jaunt!

We finished up the first half of the tour in lovely town of Portland, Maine. The arena was the smallest and most intimate we had worked in so far and offered a mellow vibe after the somewhat chaotic Fenway Park day!  Bo had a visit from his girlfriend Jess who was kind enough to bring lots of baked goods to eat on the bus on the way to DC…
We were greeted on our departure with intense torrential rain and poor Tom was given the task of getting the bags back to the bus!! He took one for the team and we all made it  into our temporary home and on the road to the capital….
4 days off in DC!

We finished up the first half of the tour in lovely town of Portland, Maine. The arena was the smallest and most intimate we had worked in so far and offered a mellow vibe after the somewhat chaotic Fenway Park day!  Bo had a visit from his girlfriend Jess who was kind enough to bring lots of baked goods to eat on the bus on the way to DC…

We were greeted on our departure with intense torrential rain and poor Tom was given the task of getting the bags back to the bus!! He took one for the team and we all made it  into our temporary home and on the road to the capital….

4 days off in DC!

Boston, MA. Fenway Park

This was the one we had all been waiting for!!  A sell-out show at the oldest and arguably most famous baseball ground in the world! Everyone was pumped for this concert…

A few of our crew went down a day early to get bearings and to figure out where we would all need to be on the big day!  The ground is huge and it became clear there would be plenty of logistical problems to solve between us!! After a few hours exploring the ball park we all felt more confident about the imminent gig.

The day itself was incredible!  The band were on form during sound check with all those Traffic, Spencer Davis Group and Blind Faith classics doing the wonderful venue great justice.  The sense of anticipation before the show was really special.

Just before the doors opened we were given a tour of Fenway Park’s famous scoreboard and allowed to sign the walls alongside a host of baseball legends!  I also spotted one of Tom Petty’s song lyrics which had found it’s way onto the walls of this prestigious room….  The hairs on the back of our necks were beginning to stand up!

As I climbed into the car to accompany the band to the stage along with a police escort (a first for me in my touring experience!), I took a moment to savour this memorable day for all it’s historical significance.  None of us will forget the Fenway Park show of the Tom Petty and Steve Winwood tour, 2014!!

Montreal, Quebec.

We crossed back over the border with ease and made our way to the city of Montreal in French-speaking Quebec.  The venue was familiar to most of us from last year on the ‘Rod’ tour, so we settled in quickly.  James set up his office for the day and tried to catch up on the mountain of work which comes with the running of a rock and roll tour such as this… Never much rest for the Tour Manager!

There was the bonus of a masseuse next door to the dressing rooms if anyone wanted to unwind before it was time to get on stage!  Good rest and good sleep can be hard to come by on tour so anything that helps us relax is welcomed readily… Jose had a power nap after load in!

The last time we found ourselves at The Bell Centre in Montreal, temperatures were offensively cold and we drove to Toronto through a blizzard…Thankfully our departure for Boston was a hell of a lot easier this time around!

Next up is the small matter of 35,000 people and Fenway Park!!

Clarkston, MI

This was a tough old gig in the end despite the very relaxed photographs shown above!  The day had been going smoothly with an easy load in and sound check.  Everything was working just as we would like and then it got to showtime…. 

'Can't find my way home' was in full flow when Steve's guitar started misbehaving!  As was the case with the high speed organ swap in Santa Rosa, the crew had to act quickly to solve the problem.  Tom, JT and myself swapped around the amplifiers as a precaution before the start of 'Medicated goo' and we then tried to eliminate certain issues by some thorough investigation!  We came to the conclusion that there was a fault with the telecaster which would need fixing in Toronto on our day off.

There was still another frantic amplifier swap to do before ‘Dear Mr Fantasy’.  The three of us dashed on and off again to perform the change and the band blitzed through the remainder of the set… Phew! 

Glad to be on our way after an exhausting gig.  The one positive to be taken from from the experience was that it keeps us all on our toes as a team! 

Toronto next…